I am not disordered

Hi! I’m Aimee from http://imnotdisordered.blogspot.co.uk/

Amy, has kindly asked me to write a guest post about being an inpatient in a psychiatric hospital to give some insight for those who have never been admitted.

I was first sectioned in 2009 when I took my first overdose in response to auditory hallucinations and I remember having absolutely no idea what was going on. I’d heard horror stories about our local psychiatric hospital and the police and hospital staff kept using terminology that I had never heard and didn’t understand; no one thought to explain it all to me. 

In my second admission, I was sent to a PICU for the first time; a PICU is a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit and once again, the seriousness of this was never explained to me, I just remember being told that the doors were locked. A Unit that is meant for some of the most mentally unwell people was used because I kept escaping from the open ward and the police told hospital staff they could not keep looking for me every single time I ran. That PICU was where I met my first inpatient friend; she persuaded me to finally tell people about my trauma and although I also had my first experience of ‘seclusion’ (a slightly padded room that you are usually kept in after needing to be restrained and sedated) there, it still wasn’t a particularly memorable experience. My third admission was the result of a ‘psychotic episode’ in which I’d become completely lost and consumed with my hallucinations and delusions. I was kept on a PICU for about three months and I saw a lot of poorly people, one of which, assaulted me. I was later told that this admission was used to determine whether I had psychosis.

From then (early 2010) until summer 2012, I never spent more than a month in hospital though I was admitted many times as I continued to overdose, self-harm and experience hallucinations. I was eventually diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and on one of my numerous admissions, a Doctor advised that my community team begin looking into a specialist hospital for me. I didn’t even know places like that existed! The first hospital I was assessed for, refused to accept my risk and I remember thinking ‘I’m never going to get better; no one will give me the chance.’ Then finally, I was admitted to a specialist ward in a private hospital, two and half hours away from home.

I've been here for 23 months now and as cliché as it sounds, it’s been a rollercoaster! Being an inpatient for so long has its positives and negatives. Probably the best thing has been that it’s meant my Doctors have gotten to know me properly which has meant they’ve got a better understanding of things. Another positive is that because it’s a long-term ward, I've made some amazing friends and I'm actually getting better because that’s what this ward is for. All of my previous admissions have either been about keeping me safe or trying to break my cycle of self-harm, so no hospital has ever actually tried to work through the causes for all of this. The two main negatives that I see are being away from home for so long and it’s sometimes quite an intense environment to be ‘living’ in. There’s always going to be some girls that don't get along and I've witnessed many arguments and even a few physical fights. There’s also the odd upset from staff when there’s a lack in communication/organisation or a let-down. But ultimately, I’m so grateful that my funding was approved for me to be here; this hospital has genuinely saved my life.

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